Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions. And mine:
“I ask people about Ryan Pace and I get the two extremes. Either people defend him to the hilt for signings like Akiem Hicks or they trash him for decisions like the Mitch Trubisky pick. A year after winning Executive of the Year, Pace was rated the 19th-best general manager in the league by NFL.com. The list had only 25 GMs with a minimum of two offseasons. That put Pace in the bottom quarter of the league. Justified? — Tom S., Chicago
“I wasn’t familiar with this ranking until you mentioned it and I went and found it. The top of the list is populated by guys leading a lot of the teams consistently in the playoff mix. Eight of the top 12 were with playoff teams last season. Two other playoff GMs were non-qualifiers because they’re still new on the job. The Vikings’ Rick Spielman and the Packers’ Brian Gutekunst were the only GMs of playoff teams ranked outside the top 12. Pace has been on the job for five seasons and the Bears have had one winning season and one playoff appearance with no postseason victories. If they rebound this season and reach the playoffs, I’m guessing he would vault forward and get credit for the moves that brought the team success in 2020. Ultimately GMs are judged by their record. If you’re looking at the Bears record over the long haul, it’s underwhelming. The beauty is every team will start 0-0 this season with an opportunity to chart a new course. What matters to the Bears is how they perform this season. If they win, Pace would deserve to be bumped up, right? If they don’t, then maybe No. 19 was just about right. The 2017 draft always will be linked to Pace, but he has made moves to improve the organization and is credited as the driving force behind the impressive Halas Hall expansion and the introduction of many new layers of technology.”
I certainly do agree that Pace will be bumped up if the Bears win this year. And the more they win this year, the more he will be bumped up. If they win 12 games again, he’ll be executive of the year again. That’s the way the league and its fans work.
But having said that, I think Pace is more susceptible to this up and down motion that most.
In his five seasons with the Bears on thing has become evident about Pace. He’s extremely aggressive. Part of that is because he comes from a Saints organization that has the same philosophy. Pace has traded up in the draft six times compared to only three times moving down. He favors the kind of maneuvering that leaves you constantly short on both draft picks and cap space.
Pace evidently believes that general managers should be like young players in training camp. Many coaches tell rookies just one thing about making mistakes. You are going to do it. Just make sure that when it happens, you do it at full speed.
That’s how you end up trading up to get Mitch Trubisky even though most pundits didn’t think it was necessary. Thats why you pay $9 million guaranteed to a tight end on the wrong side of thirty that everyone else thinks is in decline.
If you believe in it, you don’t take anything off of the pass. You throw the deep ball as hard as you can. Whether you are about to hit on a player who is going to make your career or who is going to be its biggest mistake, you do it with every aggressive bone in your body screaming.
That’s how you end up on the roller coaster of public opinion. You are always going to be judged on your latest on top of the world success or your biggest lower than a snakes belly depression.
Where will Pace be on next year’s list? Who knows. But where ever it is, he’s headed there extremely fast.